From This is your Life, Harriet Chance by Jonathan Evison


Here at last is the perspective she’s been looking for these past few days through the myopia of her emotional and psychological distress. P 183

This is your life, BR. Here you are at 44 always looking back at the life that used to be. Why don’t you turn around and look at what’s coming down the pike? Sure it’s scary—monster under your bed scary— but it might be exciting too. In the words of Liz Gilbert*, “Scared and excited are conjoined twins.”

Think for a moment. What would you like to do, where would you like to go? What excites you down to your marrow? This year marks nine years since you went to Paris. Wow, where did the time go? Maybe you need to focus on getting back there to celebrate the 10th anniversary. I know it’s a shot in the dark, but you might as well try.

And what if, just what if, you applied for that writing residency. Really, what’s to lose other than 15 dollars and surely you can afford that. Take a moment this next week and pick a few excerpts from your writing and send it in. It will feel good to let someone else read it, I promise. If they pick you that means more time for that writing you keep ignoring.

While we’re looking ahead, just think, in a few short weeks you’ll be on vacation. And I know you, you’ll be sad and nostalgic thinking of all of the years you went with M and T. Visiting the ocean, walking Chatham Beach, eating that award-winning chowder, riding the escalator at the bookstore and surveying the scene below, finding treasure in the thrift stores and on the shore. You know you can still do some of those things. And, believe it or not, you might want to try and do something new. Maybe this will be the year you finally get up early enough to get a doughnut in Dennis. Or maybe you can get one of those cronuts again and sit on the swings, eating it oh-so-slowly. The sound of the waves is waiting for you.

Those waves, that motion, is certainly a comfort to you. This past Friday night you and M sat among the luminaries and thought about boys and the end childhood. There were no words, so you sat and held each other. Rocking slowly back and forth. Sometimes that’s all you need, comfort and caress.

This has certainly been a time of need. Your house is quiet, too quiet. You get mired in your own thoughts and maybe a bit stuck. Why not take what people offer, and be good to yourself. Slow down a bit and enjoy it as it comes. Work on writing something other than blog posts. Keep looking forward. Remember not all the days are good ones, but there is a bit of beauty in each. Think of all that’s in store for you. Reach out and grab some of it for yourself.

* This post is inspired by Gilbert’s podcast, “Magic Lessons” and the format of Evison’s new book. Check them out when you get a chance– they’re great!

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